Dones join Duke in billionaires’ club

The Duke of Westminster remains the richest person in the North West, according to the 2015 Sunday Times Rich List, to be published on Sunday.

The Duke of Westminster's Grosvenor Estate is headquartered at the family seat, Eaton Hall in Cheshire, but derives most of its value from its 300 acres in west London, centred on Belgravia and Mayfair. The company reported profits of £507m in 2013 on its net assets of £3.45bn. The estate has multiple property developments in the pipeline, mostly in the UK, but with further schemes in Ireland, the United States and the Asia-Pacific region. Recent commercial successes include the Liverpool One shopping, residential and leisure complex. The 63-year-old Duke's overall wealth rises £60m this year to stand at £8.56bn, putting him among the 10 richest nationally.

The Duke of Westminster is one of 15 in the top 20 in the North West who have seen rises in their overall wealth in the past 12 months. There are now seven billionaires among the richest in the region.

The biggest year-on-year gain of £350m is recorded by Simon, Bobby and Robin Arora, the three brothers behind the B&M retail chain of discount stores, which was floated on the stock market last year. The brothers sold a 60% stake in the Merseyside-based business in 2012 that valued it at £965m. Following the floating of the business last year, it is worth £2.9bn today. The brothers' remaining 27% stake in the company is worth £770m and they have raised a further £480m from share sales.

John Whittaker and Tom Morris in second and third place respectively in the North West Rich List have also seen significant gains in their wealth in the past year.

Peel chairman Whittaker, 73, saw a £70m gain in his family's fortune. The firm owns shopping centres, airports, Pinewood Shepperton Studios and Salford's MediaCityUK. Liverpool2, a £300m container port which is due to open this year, is the latest expansion by the Peel Ports joint venture between Peel Group and Deutsche Bank. Whittaker owns 75% of Peel Holdings.

Tom Morris is another discount store billionaire, alongside the Arora brothers. Morris, 61, founded the Home Bargains retail chain 40 years ago. The Liverpool-based firm now has more than 300 shops and in 2013-14 it recorded profits of £124.7m. The business, valued at £2.2bn, is owned solely by Morris and his family. Small property companies and past dividends and salaries carry the family to £2.25bn, up £200m on last year.

A new entry to the region's exclusive club of billionaires are brothers Fred and Peter Done, the men behind the Betfred bookmaking chain. Fred, 72 and Peter, 68, started out with a single betting shop in Salford in 1967. Today their empire spans bookmaking, insurance, sports promotion, property and a restaurant. The businesses are worth combined about £950m and last year made about £72m profit.

Bruntwood owners the Oglesbys' wealth rose to £410m last year, the Sunday Times said, while Emerson boss Peter Jones and family saw their wealth reach £730m.

Regional rank

2015

Regional rank

2014

Name

2015 wealth

Wealth increase/ decrease

National rank

1

1

The Duke of Westminster

£8,560m

Up £60m

9

2

2

John Whittaker and family

£2,370m

Up £70m

43

3

3

Tom Morris and family

£2,250m

Up £200m

46

4

4

Simon, Bobby and Robin Arora

£1,750m

Up £350m

52=

5

5

Lord Grantchester and the Moores family

£1,200m

No change

85=

6=

8

Fred and Peter Done

£1,000m

Up £50m

108=

6=

7

John Hargreaves and family

£1,000m

No change

108=

8

6

The Sheppard family

£840m

Down £200m

136

9

14

Philip Day

£750m

Up £150m

145=

10=

9

Peter Jones and family

£730m

Up £13m

154=

10=

10

Sir Paul McCartney and Nancy Shevell

£730m

Up £20m

154=

12

13

Michael Oliver and family

£724m

Up £116m

157

13

12

Trevor Hemmings

£675m

Up £50m

166=

14

19

Henry Moser and family

£600m

Up £250m

186=

15

11

Lord Alliance and family

£532m

Down £118m

205

16

16

The Warburton family

£530m

Up £30m

206=

17

15

The Walker family

£520m

No change

209=

18

18

Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones

£486m

Up £81m

227

19

20

Michael Oglesby and family

£410m

Up £85m

261

20

24

Sir Michael Bibby and family

£400m

Up £136m

262=

The Sunday Times Rich List is compiled by Philip Beresford, the leading British expert on wealth, and edited by Ian Coxon. The complete list is available to all the paper's digital members and is fully-searchable online at thesundaytimes.co.uk/richlist

The 128-page special edition of The Sunday Times Magazine reveals the wealth of the 1,000 richest people in Britain.

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